High School Graduation Requirements

Students in New York state have four different ways they can meet high school graduation requirements. Two of these options will lead to a high school diploma, while the other two provide students with non-diploma credentials.

Each graduation option requires different coursework and related exams — and each option helps prepare students for a variety of future educational and career opportunities. Students are advised to consult with their school counselors as early as middle school to ensure they are choosing the appropriate coursework to meet graduation requirements.

What are the options?

1. Local diploma: There are three local diploma options for general education students, students with disabilities and English language learners. Requirements vary for each.

2. Regents diploma (and Advanced Regents diploma): The coursework required for Regents and Advanced Regents diplomas is intended to help students prepare more rigorously for college and careers.

3. Career Development Occupational Studies (CDOS) credential (non-diploma): Students who earn this credential are considered ready for entry-level employment after high school.

4. Skills and Achievement Commencement credential (non-diploma): Students who earn this credential have severe disabilities and have attended school for 12 years. This credential includes a summary of the student’s levels of achievement in academic and career development and occupational (CDOS) studies.

The school counselor and student will develop a program to meet the state’s graduation requirements. Parents who have any questions about graduation requirements are strongly encouraged to contact their child’s counselor.